All 3 entries tagged Krabi

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January 18, 2008

Krabi to Phuket to Bangkok to Ayutthaya

We left Krabi on Saturday, after being very well looked after at Phu Phra Nang Resort – they let us have showers in their house and gave us gifts before we left. I did deal with one of their aggravated customers for them though – perhaps translation would be a fun occupation if I could speak another language! It is interesting to overhear miscommunications between people when they are speaking English and it is amusing when there is a big mix up. It happens to me all the time when I try to use my broken Thai, I often order the wrong thing, agree to something I did not know about, or just generally confuse people. But at least it makes things unpredictable.

The boat journey to Phuket was very relaxing, and before I had chance to look at my watch we were sailing into the docks, which must have been three hours later. We found some very simple accommodation and then went out searching for food. Soon we were sat in a Chinese tea house, eating a hot pot and sipping the finest Oolong on offer. The next morning we flew back to Bangkok where we were met by the man busy preparing for his wedding: Pie. Sunday was an exciting day for us because many people arrived in Bangkok: Luangpor and Tahn Manapo from England, Peng from China, and Pie’s cousin Op from the USA.

On Monday we all met over at Luangpor’s place and another Warwick friend Lyn came with a small luxury bus to take us all to Ayutthaya (the old capital of Siam that was ransacked by the Burmese in 1767). We picked up Noon on the way and then the Warwick Buddhist Society led by Luangpor was off on another adventure!

We visited the temple ruins all over the city including the Wat Yai, Wat Mahathat and Wat Chai Watthanaram, as well as the royal palace at Bang Pa-In. I shall upload some photos when I find a good internet connection.

On our return to Bangkok in the evening, we went to an Isaan restaurant (Som Tam Nua in Siam Square, Soi 5) where we ordered more spicy dishes than we could eat. When we eventually got back to Pie’s house late in the evening we were surprised to see that it had been transformed with decorations and flowers, an open-sided marquee with seating for all the guests, and a team of people doing last minute preparations for the wedding. Mark soon found himself at the toilet, his body disagreeing with what he had just eaten. The rest of us were too excited by the wedding preparations to offer much sympathy to Mark, but as the night wore on we realised he was seriously ill! It had been a long day and so everyone except Pie and myself went to bed. I managed to stay awake until after 1am but then decided I should get some rest. It was a rest that lasted just over an hour…

(to be continued)

January 13, 2008

The tranquility of a muddy bay

On Friday morning we were picked up from our place at 8.30am to go on a kayaking trip to a place named “Muddy Bay” (Ao Tha Lane). The name however does not do the place justice. We had to go in a pickup for 30km north of Ao Nang with our group (seven of us and our excellent guide). We knew little about the place which we were heading except that it was a mangrove. I had no idea what a mangrove is, except that it might be something to so with trees given that it had the word grove in it. According to Mark it is a salt-water swamp, which is probably correct – although the word ‘swamp’ does not sound very inviting.

When we arrived we found a beautiful area where the river meets the sea (a river delta I believe) surrounded by mountains and trees. We got into our kayaks and paddled across the large inlet that connects the sea to the river, heading for the mountains. We went around some large rocks, in between which there were tiny beaches big enough for a couple of kayaks. Soon we were in the cool shade of the mountains and trees, the incoming tide helping us on our way down small waterways inland towards the mangrove.

In the course of about three hours we paddled through the mangrove area. Some sections were all mangrove trees, others were beautiful lagoons surrounded by tall rock faces covered in lushous tropical trees. The highlight was the monkeys jumping on our kayak, swimming in the water, and stealing our water melon!

The most amazing thing about the mangrove and lagoons was the silence. Being in a kayak the only sound you could hear was the splashing of the oars hitting the water. When you paused for a moment there was complete silence, only interupted by the occasional sound of a small animal or insect. It was bliss!

January 12, 2008

Back to Baht

It seems hard to believe I was in England ten days ago, drinking hot tea to fight the British winter away. Now I am taking three showers per day to keep cool. They say there are two seasons in Thailand: hot and very hot. We are only experiencing the ‘hot’ at the moment, but I cannot feel that it is any different from the ‘very hot’ weather. Just like in Finland, my British blood is unable to distinguish between zero and minus ten – it is all just very cold!

Today my body has really struggled in the heat and sunshine. Mark and I are now in Krabi, a province in the south of Thailand renown for its beautiful beaches and scenery. We arrived from KL yesterday having done no preparation and with no idea where to stay. After a good deal of discussion with the locals, and hefty amount of charm, we managed to find the best deal for accommodation in a quite little area not far from the beach at Ao Nang. I had to swear secrecy on how much we are paying per night because the other guests in the lesser rooms next door paid more than us! Everywhere we go I am doing my best to get local prices, but it is not always easy with this white skin! However, I did locate a som tam seller who comes from Ubon and she gave us Thai prices automatically. :)

In the evening we ate at the place that found us our cheap room. They are particularly friendly at Sea World Resort – so if you are in Ao Nang, Krabi the check them out! We were the only ones in for dinner and after the lady took our order, she rushed out on her motorcycle. Ten minutes lates she was back with a bag of vegetables which soon turned into our delicious dinner. Mark fancied some fried bananas for dessert, so I asked first if they had some. The lady assured me they had – but five minutes later she was off on the motorcycle again! We did eventually get deep-fried bananas and they were well worth the wait.

This morning we made our way to the Tiger Cave temple (Wat Tham Seua) by the cheapest possible method, taking two songthaews (a pick-up truck with a bench in the back) it cost 90 baht. I had seen a taxi company offering the same journey for 1200 baht – it really is setup for foreigners here! At the temple we visited the caves and we climbed the 1237 steps (and some of them were big!) to the top of the mountain. It was the hottest period of the day and it almost killed us! It was worth the pain though when we reached the top. A big image of the Buddha and a chedi are perched on top, and there are stunning views of the province of Krabi from the mountains to the sea. The only blip in the near perfect view is a huge Tesco that has been built on the outskirts of the town. I had heard earlier in the day a taxi driver offering trips to Tesco – as though it was a big tourist attraction. And to my horror, when we met two Aussies on the bus later, they were on their way to Tesco! In Asia at least, it seems that Tesco is building huge stores all over the countryside – it is like the second coming of the British Empire!

Back near the beach we went for a swim to cool off, although the sun prohibited us from staying in for long. We were however tempted in for a massage which cooled and relaxed us. It was Mark’s first Thai massage and he said that the girl was very friendly. He was referring to the fact that she spent rather a long time on his buttocks! I think he must have been enjoying it really. However, I am pretty sure that when she was massaging his buttocks that it was with her knees, not her hands! Once our bodies were nicely supple we enjoyed our daily staple of som tam for dinner.

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Jackie Kennedy
"I want to live my life, not record it."


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